Van Oord Installs First Monopile Foundation at RWE’s 1.4GW Offshore Wind Farm

(Credit: Van Oord)
(Credit: Van Oord)

Van Oord’s offshore installation vessel Aeolus has installed the first monopile foundation at RWE’s Sofia Offshore Wind Farm, located on Dogger Bank in the central North Sea.

With a capacity of 1.4 GW, Sofia is RWE’s largest offshore wind farm to date. After its expected commissioning in 2026, the project will be capable of generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of 1.2 million typical UK homes.

Following the installation of the essential subsea cable infrastructure, the monopile foundation installation marks the start of offshore construction within the array itself.

It is the first of 100 foundations to be installed at the 593 km2 array.

Van Oord deployed its flexible fallpipe vessels Bravenes and Nordnes to install scour protection at the locations where the monopiles are now being installed.

The monopiles have a diameter of up to 8.8 metres, a length of up to 92 metres and a weight of up to 1,530 tonnes.

They have been manufactured by EEW in Rostock, Germany and are transported by barges to the Port of Tyne. This port serves as the storage and marshalling base for wind turbines foundations and is located near Newcastle on the River Tyne in North East England. 

For this project, so-called extended monopiles are used, eliminating the need for a transition piece.

Later this year, Van Oord’s cable-laying vessel Calypso and trencher Dig-it will be deployed to install the 360 kilometres of array cables. The cables have been manufactured in Greece and are stored in the Port of Blyth, which is located just north of Newcastle.

The wind farm will use 100 Siemens Gamesa 14 MW offshore wind turbines (SG 14-222 DD), the most advanced offshore wind turbine technology available.

A total of 44 of the project’s 100 turbines will be equipped with recyclable blades. Once completed, each 14 MW turbine will be 252 metres tall, with a 108-metre carbon and fibreglass blade and a 222-metre diameter rotor sweeping an area of 39,000 m2.

“Installing the first monopile is a highly symbolic moment in the construction of every offshore wind farm. After 14 years of planning and preparation, this is a great achievement for the entire RWE team,” said Sven Utermöhlen, CEO of RWE Offshore Wind.

“We’re very pleased to announce reaching this significant milestone. Following thorough preparations, offshore construction is now in full swing, driven by a high performing project team and great cooperation with all partners involved,” added Roeland Ris, Project Director at Van Oord.

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